Wednesday, January 17, 2024


 Let's talk about official postcards. This was the last one I received in 2023. In addition to this, I received 7 other postcards with Russian ID. Not many of them and Russia wasn't even in the top 3 of the countries from which I received the most postcards. In the top three places were Germany, the United States, no surprises here, and.... the Netherlands. I've also received postcards from 24 other countries and this makes a total of 95 official postcards received. 
I've sent 101 officials to 25 countries, most of them to Germany, USA and Russia. Fewer received, fewer sent than in 2022 and I don't think the numbers will increase in 2024. What increases is the price of stamps and this reduces the desire to send postcards.
RU-9881987, sent by Katya.
One of the main attractions in Samara Region is the huge gothic Garibaldi Castle, built by local businessman Oleg Kuzichkin in the 2010s and named after his father.
Boasting soaring spires, ornate turrets and regal rooftops, this luxurious castle invokes both the magic and mystery of Medieval fortresses through the 13th century Europe and beyond... Built in the Gothic Revival style, it is not an exact copy of any particular European castle. Rather, it is an architectural fantasy on the theme of European Romanticism and Gothic, which incorporates all the most beautiful and interesting elements of European architecture of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Victorian era. - in
The Garibaldi Castle was supposed to be a hotel, but it’s not yet finished inside. However, its flowery garden, complete with a fountain, is open 24/7 and there are many visitors who come to take photos with the Gothic castle in the background. This place is especially popular for wedding photo shoots. - in:

Polonina Wetlinska - Poland

In 2021 the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added 15 new protected components to the already classified site: Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe, including four parts of beech forests from the Bieszczadzki National Park in Poland. 
The beech forests are located on the northern slopes of the Polonina Wetlinska and Smerek, in the Border Ridge and Gorna Solinka valley as well as in the Terebowiec and Wolosatka stream valleys.
It took me some time to get a card from one of these beech forests in Poland but, thanks to Sebastian, I finally got one.

Photo by Leszek Szelest
The forests of the Bieszczady National Park are the best-preserved remnant of the vast fir and beech forests (so-called Carpathian Forest) occupying the south-eastern part of Poland. These forests have retained their original character due to their inaccessibility – their remoteness from markets and roads, and the massive displacement of human populations from the area after World War II. - in:

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Stade - Germany

I've heard about Stade for the first time when Claus told me he had moved there two years ago. By coincidence, a few days after I've received an official card from there and last week Claus sent a card that was on my favorites wall.
DE-12672911, sent by Eckhardt.
Stade is a small town in Lower Saxony and is located on the Elbe in the catchment area of Hamburg. Due to its earlier membership of the Hanseatic League, Stade has the title of a German Hanseatic city. It is located in the middle of the old town on the Schwinge that flows through the city and then into the Elbe. The architecture along the harbor is reminiscent of the influence of the Swedes who controlled Stade in the 17th century. But other landmarks of the city are also shaped by this time. These structures make Stade a popular travel destination in the Hamburg region. - in:

 © Schöning Verlag
The Hanseatic harbour considered to be the oldest harbour installation on the lower river Elbe and a nationally significant cultural monument. The dock was built as early as the 13th century. 
During the Hanseatic era, the harbour was the trade centre for goods from all over Europe. Today, culinary experiences have taken over the area and restaurants host their guests by the harbour. 
The wooden treadwheel crane reminds visitors of the Hanseatic era. - in:

Itálica - Spain

You don't have to send me a Christmas card to wish me happy holidays, a normal touristic card is just fine. Óscar knows that I'll be happy with a unesco card or the second best option, a card from a place on the unesco tentative list. 
The Roman ruins of Italica, with remarkable mosaics and an impressive amphitheatre, are located 9 kilometres to the north of the city of Seville, just outside the village of Santiponce.
The Roman city of Itálica was founded in 206 BCE by Publius Cornelius Scipio, also known as Africanus. Under the Emperor Augustus, Itálica became a town and was granted the privilege of minting its own money. It is the birthplace of the emperors Trajan and Hadrian. Itálica enjoyed a period of splendour in which its architectural development flourished with the construction of new public buildings such as the amphitheatre, houses with floors decorated with mosaics, and broad streets which connected the various neighbourhoods. The archaeological excavations began between 1751 and 1755, and were led by Francisco de Bruna, and work has continued uninterrupted since that time to the present day. These remains were declared an Archaeological Site by a decree from the Andalusian Regional Government in 1989. - in:

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Furadouro - Portugal

In December I was once again the false winner of the "winner of the month" game. The real winner, Diana, sent me this postcard from Praia do Furadouro, Ovar, her beach since she can remember.
Photo: PostalPortugal
Surrounded by a dense pine forest, Furadouro Beach is about 3 km from Ovar, a distance that can be covered by bike via the cycle path. 
 Known as a beach for fishermen or surfers, depending on the season, it is a beach with fine sand, cold waters and rough seas, where sport fishing and the Xávega Art, an ancestral fishing technique, are a major attraction.

Portuguese Christmas Meeting '23

Last year's Christmas meeting was in Beja. Beja is a little far away from me and, once again, I missed a meeting. Miguel and Vitória were there and sent me these postcards.
Foto: Paula Ribeiro
I've already wrote a bit about Beja's Castle tower in the previous post. If you want to visit it, you can do so from Monday to Sunday and the ticket is €2. Once inside, you can visit the three floors, where the pointed doors and carved vaults stand out. The top is reached by a spiral staircase with 183 steps and from the top you have one of the best views over the city and the region.

 Foto: Luís Pavão
Back in Beja, I suppose, Vitória found this postcard with a farrier from the village of Baleizão. 
Before the development and massification of cars, the ox, the horse, the donkey, the male or the mule, with or without a cart attached, were the animals most used for work, transport, traction and load. 
Each village had its farrier, because horse cattle, until the mid-20th century, were the most advantageous and widespread in all regions of Portugal. The profession of farrier was often associated with that of blacksmith, who in his workshop forged horseshoes adapted to the characteristics of each animal. After the horseshoes were made by the blacksmith, the farrier applied them to the animals' hooves.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

PT RR - Surprise Group * November 23

Another year has ended. I've no idea how many postcards I've sent and received during 2023 but that's not important but I'm sure it was a good amount of them.  I liked most of them, some not so much, some were repeated, others were completely new.  
When it comes to postcards from this RR in Portuguese, these were the last to arrive but there are a few missing and at least 3 of my cards didn't make it to their destinations.
Foto: Rui Mateus
When I get a new card with elderlies, chances are that it has been sent by Tiago. My guess was right.
Mértola, located on the banks of the Guadiana, is traditionally a land of fishermen. In older times, several families subsisted on what the river provided, and fishing activity was very important for the small local economy. Today, despite the number of fishermen being much smaller, it is still possible to see the hustle and bustle of launching nets in the Guadiana. - in:
 I've a thing for towers and I love to climb them, the higher the better. This is not the highest I've ever climbed but it's the highest castle tower in Portugal and I've climbed it a few years ago. 
Beja Castle, namely its Keep, is the city's best-known and most emblematic monument. It is a Gothic fortress, whose construction began in the 13th century, shortly after the Christian conquest of the city, lasting through the 14th and, possibly, 15th centuries.
The imposing Keep, almost forty meters high, is considered by some experts to be a masterpiece of European Gothic military architecture.
The card was sent by Eric.
Foto: A. Dias
Serra da Estrela is a mountain in my region and every now and the I send cards from there but I'm not used to get Serra da Estrela cards. When I got this card I even thought "did I send a card to myself?" I didn't send a card to myself but in October I've sent a similar card to Nídia. 
There are fantastic places in the mountain, Torre - Tower must be one of the least interesting but one of the most iconic.
Torre is the highest point in Serra da Estrela and also in mainland Portugal, and the second highest in Portugal. Torre has the unusual feature of being a top accessible by a paved road, at the end of which there is a roundabout with a symbolic monument. Altitude at this location is 1993 meters and it is said, although this is not confirmed, that King John VI of Portugal would have ordered a stone monument to be erected here at the beginning of the 19th century, in order to complete the altitude until reaching 2000 meters. Precisely at the highest point, a trig point of the same name was built, which marks the highest point of Serra da Estrela.